My much loved copy of Caitlin Moran’s How to be a Woman – an absolutely hilarious and insightful read for any human!
“What is feminism? Simply the belief that women should be as free as men, however nuts, dim, deluded, badly dressed, fat, receding, lazy and smug they might be. Are you a feminist? Hahaha. Of course you are.”
This is just one example of how excellent Caitlin Moran is at explaining what it means to be a feminist. And that it isn’t just down to women to be feminists, it’s up to all of us. I am a firm believer in this, everyone should be a feminist. So if you are not sure if you are a feminist or not, then you should go and read this book, it might help.
A Brief Review
Most of my favourite quotes contained far to many cuss words to share here. It really is probably one of the funniest books I have ever enjoyed. It has been a couple of years since I read it but a few of her stories are burnt into my memory forever. Mainly the birth of her first child which she was utterly under prepared for and quite frankly in denial that it would actually happen. I think this has mentally scarred me slightly as I still continue to tell any expecting parents to do their homework before their due date!
“It was no surprise at all to me to discover I was terrible at giving birth. No surprise at all. All that I know about birth is what I’ve seen from my mother – returning home after delivering every sibling as white as death; hobbling into the house seven times with a bad story: a breech, an emergency Caesarean, a trapped nerve, a tangled cord. For her fifth – Corinne – the placenta didn’t come away, and an inexperienced midwife simply took hold of the umbilical cord and pulled it, like a dog lead attached to a recalcitrant beagle. My mother haemorrhaged so badly they had to give her four pints of blood, and when they sent her home, it was like having someone return, shell-shocked from war.”
See it has it all this book, humour, feminism, gore, horror… Maybe these particular chapters are coming back to me because my friends have started to have children? I think, when I first read this book, I was around the age that Moran was when she had her first born. I distinctly remember thinking ‘Crap, I am not ready for this’, and that has kind of remained my attitude since. So, thanks Moran, for letting me live my life childless for a few more years, or eternity? I still don’t think I’m over the trauma.
Caitlin explains how, at her six-month check-up, she comments on a sculpture depicting the stages of the dilating cervix from 1 to 10 centimeters. She asks the midwife what it is and once it is explained to her she responds with:
“‘The cervix?’ I repeat, wholly alarmed. ‘A baby can’t come out of that! It’s not a hole! I’ve felt it! That’s a solid thing!’
‘Well, that’s why it’s all a… bit of an effort’, the midwife replies “
And, well, all the baby birthing bits just get a bit scarier from there on in really, yeah there are some jokes dusted around and its not an entirely uncomfortable chapter. The jokes in this bit don’t stay with you though, however the reality of what she actually went through will remain. The fact that women do this amazingly excruciating, dangerous and magical thing is captured in all its gritty detail within these pages.
Another anecdote that springs to mind is when Moran and her husband are deciding what they should refer to their daughters lady parts as. I won’t spoil it for you but for some time a major clothing brand sits between their daughters legs…
I recommend this book to anyone, of any age and any gender, it will be an eye opener for most and a lot of laughs for all.
Book Cover Design
This book is wonderful on the outside too! Cover design by Two Associates. Look at that shiny silver foiling and the fantastic script typography, Caitlin looks great too – Sassy, serious and bursting with secrets.
Originally published in 2011 by Ebury Press, an imprint of Ebury Publishing, A Random House Group company.